comes from a line of farmers and educators, a background that nourished a love of nature and a passion for lifelong learning.
She began her professional life as a special education teacher, working primarily with emotionally disturbed and learning disabled middle school students.
After moving to Spokane in 1975, she
took a job in outreach services at Spokane Public Library
, a role that again brought her
in close contact with "special" populations - the poor, the disadvantaged, the disabled, and the advanced elderly.
"I love that word," says Helen
, whose early exposure to family members with serious mental illnesses "made me somebody who loves and cares for people other people might not choose to love or care for."
Helen found her true vocation shortly after earning her master's degree in applied behavioral science from Whitworth College in 1985.
A contract counseling stint at the YWCA produced a string of self-referred clients, and her
private practice took root.
been counseling individuals, couples and families from all walks of life for 22 years.
Beyond her therapy work, Helen is a proud activist, "half warrior, half mother," she declares.
fought for civil rights in the '50s and '60s and for women's rights in the '70s.
Just when she
activism days were over, her
daughter came out as a lesbian in the '80s.
learned what she
needed to know and soon became one of Spokane's strongest voices for equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.